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5 Tips to Save Money on Food Over the Holidays

November 26, 2013 by Andrea Godfreyson, Registered Dietitian

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Money can be a big source of stress over the holidays.

Focusing on spending time with family and friends is a good way to anchor us to what really matters this season.

The good news is that your big meal gatherings don't need to break the bank.

Here are 5 tips to save money on food over the holidays:

  1. Plan Your Meals Now: Planning your menus and shopping lists in advance allows you to take advantage of sales. Chances are if you look through flyers, you can find deals on most of the ingredients you need. This will ease the pressure on your mind and your wallet right before the holiday gathering(s).

  2. Keep Your Menus Simple: Limiting the number of dishes you make at each meal allows you to make more volume of each dish, and take advantage of buying in bulk. It also equals big savings by not having to buy all of the little garnishes and flavourings associated with each of the additional dishes.

  3. Try Something Different: If your usual holiday celebration meal isn’t in the budget, change it up. Try an Italian meal with spaghetti and meatballs instead. Or maybe your family would like an Indian feast with chickpea and eggplant curry, dahl, rice and roasted cauliflower or a shepherd’s pie with soft whipped root vegetables on top. These warm, comfort food options are easy to make in big batches and are perfect for sharing. You can even share the load by having a potluck where everyone gets to contribute to the meal.

  4. Reuse Your Ingredients: Plan to repurpose your ingredients. If you get a turkey, plan to make a quick stock from the bones and make soup. Freeze any leftover meat and save it for other meals instead of letting it fester in the fridge.

  5. Keep Dessert Simple: A simple pudding, like rice or bread pudding or a fruit crisp is a great way to end a meal and can even double as part of breakfast the next day.

Bonus tip: Turkeys often go on sale after the holiday rush so that’s a great time to pick one up and store it in the freezer for another special meal…maybe turkey for Family Day in February?


Photo: iStockphoto

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